Boa working hard

Luis Boa Morte will be a more than interested observer when Portugal take on North Korea on Monday lunchtime.

The West Ham United attacker is back in Lisbon preparing for the start of pre-season. Although he has been keeping himself ticking over for the start of training, he has also found time to keep an eye on his country's fortunes in South Africa.

A veteran of the 2006 finals, Boa Morte is hoping Portugal can at least emulate their run to the semi-finals of four years ago. They began with a 0-0 draw against Ivory Coast last week and will know that group favourites Brazil lie in wait in Durban next Friday.

Before all of that is the challenge of North Korea, who lost 2-1 to the Brazilians last time out, in Cape Town. "We know that Brazil would be the main team in the the group and everyone expects the second place will be between Portugal and Ivory Coast," Boa Morte told

"After the first games, we have seen that North Korea are a solid team and are happy to fight from the first to the last minute. It will be a really interesting game. Portugal have good players so hope we can be too strong for them."

Boa Morte has enjoyed being in his homeland this summer but is looking forward to getting back to London and down to business - especially with the new fixtures out and having just agreed a new two-year contract.

"It is always nice to be back in Portugal," he said. "I spent a big part of last season there working on my rehab because of the injury as well but I would rather have been at the club. Of course it is always good to go home and spend time with the family but I have to work now and I want to work. That is what I am paid to do."

Looking to the 2010/11 campaign, he said it looked a "tough start" but said that everyone would be confident of the club holding their own. He is particularly intrigued by the prospect of going to old club Fulham on Boxing Day. Click here for all the new fixtures.

"It is good for everyone to be in London over Christmas. The fans can spend more time with the family but we have a job to do and a match to win. It is a special derby for me and I am looking forward to that."

Boa Morte is also excited by the prospect of teaming up with new signing Thomas Hitzlsperger, the club's first recruit of a busy summer. "I played a few times against Thomas. He is definitely a good player and he is one more to come in and help the team achieve our targets.

"I know everyone will make him feel welcome like the club did when I signed. We have a good atmosphere in the squad and he is one of us now. I am looking forward to meeting him."

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